Prof. Alexander Liebreich in conversation with composer Helmut Lachenmann
Helmut Lachenmann
Alexander Liebreich

Helmut Lachenmann (*1935 Stuttgart) is one of the outstanding composers of New Music. With the background of his preoccupation with tradition, Lachenmann searches for an amplification of the concept of music. The research for new tonal potentials and playing techniques is present for the former student of Luigi Nono in all of his works, since in his opinion it is a matter of turning every acoustic event into sound and also seducing the listener to a new listening awareness. His enormous and versatile oeuvre ranges from music theatre, orchestral and chamber music to vocal music. The works of Helmut Lachenmann belong to the repertoire of renowned opera houses, festivals, orchestras and ensembles

(c) Emilio Pomàrico
(c) Emilio Pomàrico

Helmut Lachenmannwas born on 27 November 1935 in Stuttgart and studied from 1955 to 1958 at the Musikhochschule there. From 1958 to 1960 he was a pupil of Luigi Nono, whom he had met during the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music. This was followed by teaching assignments in Stuttgart, Ulm, Basel, Hanover and finally Stuttgart again, whereby he influenced an entire generation of composers with his compositional style and aesthetics.

His greatest success was the opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, which premiered at the Hamburg State Opera on his birthday in 1997 and was included in the repertoire of many opera houses (new version 2003). Lachenmann also wrote chamber music for various ensembles (including Gran Torso for string quartet), orchestral works and works for solo instruments. The composer received the renowned Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1997, the Berlin Art Prize in 2008 and the Bach Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in 1972.

Alexander Liebreich

Alexander LiebreichIn December 2017, Alexander Liebreich was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Radio Symphony Orchestra Prague; he will take up office in September 2018. Since September 2012, Alexander Liebreich has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR). In 2014, he inaugurated the new concert hall in Katowice with the ensemble. On the opening night, Johannes Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with Krystian Zimerman was on the program among others. As part of his collaboration with the orchestra and the label Accentus Music, three recordings with a repertoire of great Polish composers have appeared. The third CD with works by Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski won the International Classical Music Award 2017 in the category “Best Collection”.

Since May 2015, Alexander Liebreich is Artistic Director of the Katowice Kultura Natura Music Festival, which has already had guests like the Rias Chamber Choir, the Academy of Early Music Berlin, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In May 2018, Leif Ove Andsnes, the Quatuor Ebène and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich are expected to perform for the 4th edition of the festival. In 2018, Liebreich will take over the position of Artistic Director of the Richard Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

From 2006 to 2016 Liebreich was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra (MKO). The first CD of the ensemble with works by Joseph Haydn and Isang Yun under his direction was received enthusiastically by the critics during its release in January 2008; 2009 followed a Bach CD with Hilary Hahn, Christine Schäfer and Matthias Goerne for the Deutsche Grammophon. The recording with the MKO of Tigran Mansurian’s “Requiem” (2017, ECM Records) with the RIAS Chamber Choir was honored with the Recording Academy nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards as well as by the jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

As one of Germany’s leading conductors, Alexander Liebreich is at home on the big concert stages in the world. As a guest conductor, he has collaborated with many top-class orchestras, including the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchester National de Belgique, the Rundfunk-Symphonieorchester Berlin, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Orchester Philharmonique de Luxembourg, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Current and future commitments include debuts with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Orquesta de Valencia, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Essen Philharmonic, the Staatsorchester Stuttgart, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Liebreich has performed with outstanding soloists such as Lisa Batiashvili, Krystian Zimerman, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Gautier Capuçon, Leila Josefowicz and Isabelle Faust.

In addition to his concerts and opera productions, Liebreich has also built up a reputation with innovative projects. In 2011, he was the first European Artistic Director of the Tongyeong International Music Festival (TIMF) in South Korea, one of the largest and most important music festivals in Asia. To promote intercultural encounters, he launched the East-West Residence Program and invited artists like Heiner Goebbels, Unsuk Chin, Martin Grubinger, Toshio Hosokawa, and Beat Furrer to South Korea.

In October 2016 Alexander Liebreich was awarded the special prize of the Kulturpreis Bayern 2016.

As a native of Regensburg Alexander Liebreich studied at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and the Salzburg Mozarteum. He gained his first artistic experience with Claudio Abbado and Michael Gielen.